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Connecticut law already allows the owner of a companion animal that has been intentionally injured or killed to collect economic damages (i.e., claims substantiated by a specific cost), including veterinary care cost and the monetary value of the animal.  Connecticut Senate Bill 228 would go a drastic step further and allow non-economic damages in cases involving an intentional injury to animals.  Non-economic damages are claims that cannot be substantiated by a specific cost, and include claims like loss of companionship.  The American Kennel Club (AKC) remains a long-time opponent of allowing non-economic damages in such cases, and opposes SB 228.

Senate bill 228 is scheduled to be considered by the Joint Environment Committee on Friday, March 4. It is imperative that all Connecticut dog owners contact the members of the committee and urge them to oppose SB 228. 

TALKING POINTS AGAINST SB 228

  • Currently, emotional harm caused by the injuring or killing of a pet is recoverable under a cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress, which requires showing that the defendant intentionally injured or killed the pet for the sole purpose of inflicting emotional harm against the owner.  In such situations, the bad act is considered as being committed against the owner, not the animal.  The defendant’s conduct against the pet is a factor is assessing the outrageousness of defendant’s conduct toward the owner. 
  • Owners in Connecticut whose pets are negligently injured or killed are also already permitted to recover the economic value of a pet, the cost of any veterinarian bills resulting from an alleged injury, and other reasonable and necessary costs arising out of the injury.  
  • Like most states, Connecticut also allows punitive damages to be awarded, which punish a defendant for injuring or killing a pet out of malice.  Punitive damages can be substantial. 
  • Long-standing legal principles limit the availability of non-economic damages to only the close family of victims who have died or who have been severely injured.  Non-economic damages are typically not available in cases involving damage to personal property, including animals
  • Legal scholars and animal experts agree that significant negative consequences would flow from allowing non-economic damages to be awarded in pet injury and death cases.  The risk of increased legal liability will result in dramatically higher costs to cover that liability for all parties in the animal care chain (which will ultimately be passed on to animal owners), and pose increased risks to public health if average owners can no longer afford basic veterinary care for their pets. The unintended consequences of SB 228 will far outweigh any benefits if the bill is enacted. 

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Concerned Connecticut residents are encouraged to contact the members of the Joint Environment Committee before it meets on Friday, March 4; and respectfully urge committee members to oppose SB 228.  Please submit your letters to envtestimony@cga.ct.gov

Residents are also encouraged to attend the Joint Environment Committee’s March 4 meeting.  The meeting will be held at 10AM, in Room 1E of the Legislative Office Building, 300 Capitol Avenue, Hartford, CT 06106. 

For more information, contact the AKC’s Government Relations Department at 919-816-3720, or email doglaw@akc.org.   

Senate bill 228 is scheduled to be considered by the Joint Environment Committee on Friday, March 4. It is imperative that all Connecticut dog owners contact the members of the committee and urge them to oppose SB 228.

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact us at enewsletter@akc.org
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